Sometimes, the most frightening situations greet us every day, not just once a year as Halloween approaches! I have heard ghoulish rumors of teachers' rising blood pressure, of chaos, of disorganization. I am here to offer a bit of relief. Your Gmail inbox does not need to be a daily source of anxiety and frustration!
Now, don't stop reading because you just don't know where to begin! I have three suggestions for improving your quality of life and diminishing the stress caused by opening your Gmail account.
After opening an email, there are really only four options:
My first suggestions is CREATE LABELS. The first two labels you should create are "01.Follow-Up" and "02.Hold"
You might wonder why I have added numbers in front of the written labels; This is to ensure their place at the very top of your Label list in the left-hand column of your email window. You may decide to create other labels for saving emails. For example, you might have "Paychecks," "Technology," or "PLCs." These labels will serve several purposes. If you don't have time to respond right away, you might label an email as "01.Follow-Up." If you are waiting for another party to take action or respond, place the email in "02.Hold." If you would like to save an email for future reference, label it with the name of the corresponding subject folder. Delete any email you no longer want to see right away, so it does not clutter your Inbox. Every email requires one of the four previously-mentioned actions. After a while, choosing one of the four options listed above should become automatic. With a little practice, you might even have times when your Inbox is empty!
To create a label:
Reading email takes time, and we know that is at a premium, so try to resist the temptation to make your "Follow-Up" label a to do list. Opening each email to remember what you have to do will require you to spend more time than necessary. Instead, create a separate to do list not associated with your email.
My second suggestion is to use the MULTIPLE INBOX LAB. This will create multiple inboxes on your main Gmail window. You might want to have frames specifically for your "Follow-Up" mail and your "On-Hold" mail. Creating multiple inboxes will save you the time of finding your Label in the left-hand column and opening it. With multiple inboxes, important messages will be right there for your viewing pleasure! Here's how to do it:
Whew! We've made it this far. I have one last suggestion before I put you on total brain overload. My third method for organizing your Gmail is to use FILTERS. Filters are easily set-up from the "Settings" menu, and can save you time by reorganizing your Inbox for you! For example, here in the tech department, we get numerous reports when network glitches occur. Since we have people for that (wonderful, amazing people who have way more expertise in that area than some of us who get the same alerts), I created a filter to have those messages sent directly to my trash. You might use filters to place VIP emails....you know, the ones from the principal or your mother, in a certain Labeled Folder. You might subscribe to a blog, such as this one, and have handy tech tips sent directly to your Technology Labeled Folder. Anyway, you get this point. Here's how it's done:
In writing this post, I became a success story. My original Inbox had 589 emails. In one evening I was able to take action on every piece of mail I had in my Inbox AND complete this blog post by my Halloween deadline...the bewitching hour.
As the saying goes, we need to "Take time to make time." Start giving yourself the "treat" of time, and use any or all of the three suggestions (labels, multiple inboxes, and filters) for making your Gmail Inbox a little LESS scary.
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